Hey friends and family!
When a missionary starts their mission, they start their first 12 weeks which can really describe how their whole mission will turn out. Then at the end, everyone says that they are in their final 12 weeks, which shows how your mission really went. Goal: Finish strong! Things to help: Conference was actually a really good start...Tuesday
We had our monthly meeting with President Murphy today! It was super long but worth it. We talked about Zion's camp where people passed for a lot of trials and after they finished it, they came out stronger, more faithful members of the church. Pres. Murphy says that our mission is our own personal Zion's camp and that we will pass for many things but if we serve faithfully and diligently, our reward will be great in heaven. He also gave us a new study journal and the challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 3 months while writing down all of our thoughts and feelings as we read the Book of Mormon. At the end of the 3 months (Christmas day), that is our gift to the Savior. I am so pretty darn excited! I have goals of my own like finishing the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Preach my Gospel before coming home. If you want, you are all invited to do the same!
We went and celebrated one of our ward missionaries' birthday. Digna turned 22 and it was a pretty fun time. I made her brownies and a funny birthday card. I got to smash her face in her cake but promised that when it is time for me to go home (if I am still in the ward), then she can smash one in my face. Her aunt, Maria, told me that we are no longer allowed to visit her unless I bring brownies.
We basically spent all week telling everyone how awesome conference was going to be. They just looked at us like we are super crazy... But hey, conference is important. Our district leader had given us a referral for a family that supposedly lived near our house. We spent 3 nights looking for the family to no avail... It was pretty funny because everyone was like, "I think they live over there". We walked all of Gonzalez looking for this family... One day, we shall find them!
It rained and rained and rained... Then rained some more... Normally it is not so bad when it rains but lately, it has been so cold here that the rain was unbearable. The members looked at me shivering and said that they will make me a hat (1. that takes time and 2. it does not solve the problem in the moment but it is the thought that counts). They are so funny here. In Ecuador, rain equals death and sickness (they over exaggerate...). We visited Maria's daughter, Amalia, who is less active and her husband. They are so funny, I feel like we could be friends for life. We invited her husband to baptism and he accepted. I felt prompted to ask why he accepted and he told me that he wants to be baptized so that he can receive the priesthood so that he can be a blessing for his wife and son. This is why people should get baptized! The gospel brings so many blessings into not only our lives but the lives of our loved ones. We need to learn how to share this joy with others!
Conference!! Woooo! It went by way too quickly! It just so happened that every speaker, every message, had exactly what I was needing in the very moment! Heavenly Father knows how to help in times of crisis. We ate lunch as a zone. One of the gringo elders was shouting all the time, "Ya! Gringo room!". Thankfully, every conference, we have the opportunity as English speakers, to set up a room to listen to conference in English. It truly is a blessing. Here are some of the things that I loved from conference:
El. Hales- Conversion: filled with the Savior's love
Sis. McConkie: Pray for the strength to endure
El. Uceda: When you pray, are you really praying?
El. Andersen: Each of us is a piece of the puzzle. You are IMPORTANT!
El. Cook: Stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones.
El. Stevenson: As you look to the book, you look to the Lord.
El. Christofferson: Divine love can transform a willing heart.
El. Yamashita: Be ambitious for Christ: be motivated, dedicated, focused, faithful, diligent, humble...
El. Oaks: Trust in the Lord, He knows His sheep.
The craziest thing happened in conference today. We were setting up our room to listen to conference when the stake president came in saying that we were going to be in a different room so that there was space for more English speakers. I thought it was odd but we helped anyways. The 1st counselor of the presidency of the Guayaquil temple and some of his family were visiting Otavalo this weekend and came to listen to conference. We introduced ourselves and it turns out that I went to high school with his granddaughter who is now married. I have decided from this day on, I will not let anything surprise me because of all that has happened... (I will send a picture next week). We were invited with several other missionaries to eat in the stake president's home. His wife told us that she always makes a ton of food because she knows that a lot of mamitas fail us. It was so fun to chat with them. Here is more of conference that I liked:
Pres. Monson: The greatest gift that we have is the great plan of happiness!
Pres. Nelson: If we focus on joy, what can we overcome?
El. Meurs: What will I do to participate more actively in the Sacrament?
El. Davies: True worship transforms us.
El. Robbins: The way your treat them (kids, family, friends, investigators, etc...) is what they will become.
Pres. Eyring: Sometimes, we can't see the effects of our service.
El. Bednar: True faith leads to action.
El. Cook: The opportunity to serve is a blessing! (I testify of this one with all my heart!)
El. Rasband: No mistake or sin will take away His love. (He basically spent the whole time talking about the scripture on my missionary plack: Helaman 5:12)
El. Schmutz: The pain can be swallowed up in the eternal gospel.
El. Nattress: It's about one... One prodigal son... One lost sheep... One woman at the well...
El. Renlund: Who sells the eternities for the sake of a toy?
What was your favorite talk?
Conference was such a good boost to keep me going! Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement! I get to stay in San Pablo!! Yay! Hna. Cruz will be finishing with me. She goes home this transfer. Today, we took her English exam! Hope you all have a great week!